ISO 14001:2015 was published September 2015 with the transition period finished as of September 2018. The standard requires organizations to determine its environmental risks and opportunities, related to its environmental aspects, compliance obligations, and other issues or requirements, and address them in order to prevent or minimize any undesired environmental conditions and to continually improve environmental performance. ISO 14001:2015 requires organizations to maintain a life cycle perspective, to assess and manage the potential for negative environmental impacts from relevant stages in the product lifecycle from raw material sourcing/acquisition all the way through end-of-life treatment or disposal of the product and/or byproduct waste streams.
Key changes between ISO 14001:2004 and ISO 14001:2015:
- Adoption of the ISO Annex SL Structure
- Emphasis on leadership
- Focus on risk management
- Emphasis on objectives measurement and change
- Changes to communication and awareness requirements
- Fewer prescriptive requirements overall
Benefits of ISO 14001 certification include:
- Commitment to environmental protection/conservation.
- Reduction of risk of adverse environmental impacts.
- Business management drivers, notably meeting stakeholder requirements, improving public image, achieving strategic objectives, and integrating with other business management systems.
- Meeting legal requirements and improving the organization’s environmental performance.
- Management commitment and employee engagement.
- Supplier environmental performance.
- Providing a competitive advantage.
- Providing financial benefits (in some instances).